Southern Upland Way 2 – Scotlands Coast To Coast Path
May 2005 saw our walking group complete the 92 mile section of the Southern Upland Way 2. We started the trail near Moffat, at the point where we had finished in 2004. It was a 20 mile walk through woodland and moorland to our accommodation at the Tibbie Shiels Inn in St Mary’s Loch. The Tibbie Shiels Inn was the place where the Southern Upland Way was inaugurated in 1984.
Day 2 was 12 miles plus another 1¼ miles to the Corner House Hotel at Innerleithen, where we stayed the night. The walk started along the eastern section of St Mary’s Loch then continued through moorland. It was probably one of the easiest days walking we encountered on the Southern Upland Way 2 trek.
Innerleithen to Melrose was the objective on day 3. After the 1¼ mile stroll back to the official path we climbed up through woodland to Minch Moor. Then it was up to the summit of Brown Knowe, with the large well built cairns known as the Three Brethren. The old drove road was next, followed by a section through Yair Hill Forest then downhill to cross the River Tweed at Yair Bridge. The final part of today’s 17¼ mile walk was over moorland, then down to Melrose.
Day 4 was a 10¼ mile easy walk to the village of Lauder. Along the trail we were ‘buzzed’ by a passing jet fighter and could actually see the pilot waving to us. We stayed at the Black Bull Hotel which provided one of the best accommodations and food on the Southern Upland Way.
The penultimate day meant a 15½ mile trek from Lauder to Longformacus. The walk was over agricultural land and contoured the Lammermuir Hills. The highlight was the summit of Twin Law with it’s two beautifully built cairns. These are tall, round, stone built hollow structures resembling fortifications. Finally a stroll by Watch Water Reservoir saw us reach Longformacus.
The final day of the Southern Upland Way 2 trek, day 6, promised an 17 mile walk to the finishing point at Cockburnspath on the east coast of Scotland. After a few miles through open land we reached Whiteadder Water then passed through the village of Abbey St Bathans. It was now only 10 miles to the end of our long journey from Portpatrick. The path was mainly through farmland until meeting the A1 road, then woodland above the London to Edinburgh railway line. Finally it was downhill by the caravan park above Pease Bay, along the coast past Cove Harbour and then Cockburnspath. The Southern Upland Way finishes at the market square cross but it was an anti-climax as there is no pub in Cockburnspath to celebrate the achievement.
We stayed overnight at a local farmhouse and the owners drove us to the caravan site where we spent the evening sampling the local ale. We had decided to finish the week off with a coastal walk to Eyemouth, a distance of 16 miles. This was a fine day along beautiful scenery, passing the lovely fishing village of St. Abbs. A long session in Eyemouth finished the week off slendidly.
Southern Upland Way Part 1